Hotel Napoleon

Hotel Napoleon

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You can sense the history from the first moment that you let your eyes wander around the Hotel Napoléon: the décor chosen in accord with the hotel’s namesake, the love story  that began the hotel, the proprietor (who is the son of the couple that began the hotel back in 1928), and the Errol Flynns and Ernest Hemingways who have spent time there.  This 101-room hotel, just steps off of the Champs- Elysées, has found a balance between historical and renovated, familiar and formal, and Parisian and worldly.  Many of the suites and rooms offer unbeatable views of the Arc de Triomphe, just two blocks from the hotel, and the Eiffel Tower across the rooftops of the eighth arrondissement.  From my room I had a view of the Arc de Triomphe through the window opposite the bed and a view of the Eiffel Tower from the window to the left of my bed–and I was in a room, not a suite!  
 
The red carpet in front of the Napoléon Paris leads you through the entrance, past a smiling young doorman, and to the front desk, which I never saw without at least one welcoming staff member in attendance. At the desk I asked to check in, using my French laden with an unmistakable anglophone accent.  The woman responded in English, “Do you speak English?”  Another lost opportunity to practice my French, I thought to myself.  “Yes,” I responded, but then she followed up with “Would you prefer to speak French?”  “OUI!”  I couldn’t have been more pleased at my check-in, which  was finished within a few minutes. 
 
While the receptionist was making a copy of my passport (required in Europe now), I had a chance to look around the lobby.  Comfy chairs and sofas reminiscent of Napoleonic style fill the lobby, with several tables and armchairs cozied up to the fireplace in the far corner.   Light floods into a front room that is quieter than rest of the lobby (which has the check-in desk at one end) and the entrance to the restaurant and bar at the other end.  Somewhat set-off from the rest of the lobby, this room offers a nice place to have a quiet conversation, read a book or newspaper, or watch people walk by outside the windows facing the street.  And speaking of newspapers, the Napoléon Paris is kind enough to keep a lobby table positioned freshly stocked with complimentary newspapers and magazines, including the International Herald Tribune and Time Magazine.  The bar will serve you anywhere in the lobby that you like, so you can enjoy an apéritif relaxing in what feels like a comfortable living room in a royal residence.  
 
Since the Napoléon Paris brought M. Corpechot on board as the hotel manager, the renovation and renewal of the hotel have been a constant effort.  The fruits of his labor are showing:  as of the end of March 2005, 98% of the rooms have been renovated.  The only rooms not yet See the REAL Europe with Rail Europecompleted are the presidential suites, which I saw in their “unfinished” state–and they are still fantastic.  All in all, I was able to see at least one of each type of room plus a few extras, which resulted in viewing a dozen rooms.  The décor of the rooms varies, although the design has stayed true to the Napoléonic era.
 
The rooms throughout the hotel have various color schemes, linens, and upholstery, making return visits to the Napoléon Paris familiar but not dull.  The beds are roomy and the wonderful large down French pillows are fantastic. The bathrooms have all been renovated and are fabulous, with either combination bath/showers or separate bath and showers in several of the suites.  The bathrooms in the deluxe rooms and suites are especially large for an old French hotel.  The towels are plush, and bathrobes, a hairdryer, and even a scale are provided (OK, you probably don’t want to have a scale available during a vacation to the culinary paradise of Paris, but you can always hide it in the closet).  Rooms have recently been equipped with flat-screen televisions that also provide internet access, films, radio, and television stations in English, French, Spanish, Chinese.  The hotel is also completely WiFi ready, and the rooms all have DSL access.  The hotel also has a computer with internet access available.  The front desk sells internet access cards starting at five euros for ten minutes.  The first renovation completed on the hotel was air-conditioning.
 
The views offered by the rooms at the front of the hotel are unbeatable.  From the deluxe room that I stayed in, Room 501, you have a view of the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.  Imagine waking up in the morning and having the Arc as the first sight you see!  You can then sit up in bed and look out the second window to your left and see the Eiffel Tower.  Room 501 also has a lovely sitting area with a sofa (all sofas in the hotel rooms convert into beds) and a couple of comfortable chairs – a great place to sit in the late afternoon and watch the crazy traffic circling the Arc.  A word about the traffic – I was concerned that the most picturesque rooms on the front side of the hotel would also be the noisiest because of the traffic on the Avenue de Friedland and the Place de l’Etoile, but the traffic noise is not excessive and after 8:00 p.m. the Avenue gets pretty quiet.
 
*****
 
The presidential suites are really something.  There are two – one on either side of the front of the hotel: Suite Errol Flynn and Suite Josephine.  Both have wrap-around balconies, and the panoramic view of the Arc de Triomple, the Eiffel Tower, and Paris in general is breathtaking.  The rooms each have two bathrooms and two bedrooms, one with a king-size bed and one with a double bed.  Suite 708 is a smaller honeymoon suite.  The room is small, but the wrap-around balcony and breakfast area on the balcony with a view of the Eiffel Tower, not to mention a view of the Eiffel Tower from the bed, is undeniably romantic.
 
*****
 
Room 602 is a standard room, yet still has a separate toilet and bathroom, a desk, a chair, and a double bed.  The room felt very much like a classique French hotel room.  The room adjoins a junior suite, which is a great arrangement for families travelling with children or friends travelling together.  As a part of the hotel renovations, the rooms and suites have been conjoined to offer more flexibility to the guests.
 
In general, the rooms I liked least well were those at the back of the hotel, since they are missing the great views that you know are at the front. However, the rear rooms are exceptionally quiet, as the windows face a courtyard.  The junior suite, 103, is fabulous in seasons with pleasant weather.  The room is pleasant, with a double bed, sitting area, and bathroom, but the gigantic terrace off the front of the room stole my heart.  The terrace has a full-sized table for you to enjoy breakfast, lunch, apéritif, dinner, or anything else you might want, with the view of the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de l’Etoile before you.  The terrace is like one that goes with an apartment rather than a hotel room, and you feel as though you have your own fabulous apartment in Paris.  Lastly, I really loved the room I stayed in, Room 501.  Again, the view is marvelous, but the décor, in warm maroon hues, the two windows that brighten the room, and the king-size bed made for a very comfortable stay.     
  
Breakfast can be served in your room or in the Bivouac Café, the hotel restaurant, for 22 euros there it’s a breakfast buffet, including traditional French pastries and croissants, along with almost anything else you might want.  The muesli and yogurts are great and the juices are fresh-squeezed.  Eggs, potatoes, cereal, fruit, meats, and cheeses are available from the buffet, and the staff will make you an omelette if you wish.  Dripstyle coffee is offered as well as the good French stuff; I recommend asking for a café crème if you like a good strong coffee in the morning.  You also can choose tea or hot chocolate to start your day.  French newspapers as well as the International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times are available in the lobby in the morning.  After your breakfast, feel free to ask for a refill and retire to the lobby to read the paper and have a little more coffee before starting your day.
 
The Bivouac Café also offers lunch during the week as well as a bar menu in the afternoon and evening.  The lunch is an absolute treat, and I recommend it; the hotel hired, from a one-star Michelin restaurant, a young chef whose work is worth mentioning.  Starters are between 12 and 16 euros, and the main dishes are between 16 and 29.  The restaurant is filled for lunch during the week; so make a reservation and treat yourself to a nice lunch one day.  A bar menu is also offered; coffee, tea, champagne, wine, and cocktails are served in a very cozy private-club atmosphere.
 
The Napoléon Paris is a two-minute walk from the Place de l’Etoile and the Champs-Elysées.  The hotel is located in the Eighth Arrondissement, which is filled with shops, restaurants, theatres, and clubs too plentiful to mention.   You are a 10-minute walk from the world-renowned shopping of Avenue Montaigne and the Faubourg St-Honoré.  Rue des Ternes, a five-minute walk from the hotel, offers  more bon marché shops.  And if you think that you need to head over to St.-Germain-des-Prés to find a nice little market street, first try rue Poncelet, which is just off rue des Ternes.  This old market street has fruit and vegetable stands as well as shops with everything from wine to foie gras to pastries.  Rue Poncelet is a great place just to enjoy the sights or have a tea at one of the cafés, but it’s also a very reasonable market street for produce, wine, meats, and cheeses; most of the stores and stands are closed on Mondays.  If you need a coiffure after travelling to Paris, ask the concierge and he will make an appointment for you in the area.  I also found a small spa a few blocks away called Noix de Coco that does manicures, massages, facials, and more with or without an appointment.
 
 
Nearby Arts:
The Grand Palais and the Palais de la Découverte are a 10-15-minute walk or a quick métro ride away.  A couple of more stops on line 1 of the métro and you are at the Louvre.  The galleries of St.-Germain-des-Prés are also within walking distance from the hotel or reachable by a quick métro ride.
 
Nearby Café:
The hotel is steps away from the Champs-Elysées, so you can always walk over to one of the many of cafés lining the avenue.  If you want something a bit off the beaten path, try Café Lateral, just around the corner from the Napoléon Hôtel on avenue MacMahon.  It’s a nice modern version of the traditional Paris café, with plenty of people-watching tables on the sidewalk.  Café Lateral also has a kitchen open from noon to midnight.
 
Nearby Restaurants:
Lunch and dinner options are vast because of the hotel’s proximity to the Champs-Elysées.  Just a couple of blocks away is the Guy Savoy restaurant Le Chiberta, one of this Michelin-star-toting chef’s several houses in Paris.  The restaurant is not cheap, but a menu like this one is worth it.  One night, walk a bit farther to the other side of the avenue des Champs-Elysées for an excellent meal at an excellent price away from the tourist-filled restaurants.  The Comptoir de l’Arc on avenue Marceau is the real deal.  Reservations are not required, but lunch time is very busy.  The menu is written on chalkboards around the restaurant and the staff is friendly, even when you struggle with speaking French.  The entrecôte is excellent, the fish great, and they even have meal-size salads.  This restaurant is worth the seven-minute walk.  
 
Nearby Shopping:
Beyond the well known shops of the avenue des Champs-Elysées, avenue Montaigne, and rue du Faubourg St- Honoré is the always eclectic Colette on rue St- Honoré.  It’s four métro stops from the hotel on line 1 or a lovely 20-minute walk down the Champs-Elysées toward the Tuileries.  This store has everything from clothes to photography books to the hippest music to watches to weird little gadgets, and on the basement level you can find the Water Bar vegetarian restaurant.  This branché local is worth a stop.  Check out the website (www.colette.fr).  You’ll see what I mean.
 
Nearby Attractions:
Need I mention avenue des Champs-Elysées and l’Arc de Triomphe?  Beyond that you are close to so many of the big monuments: six métro stops from the Tour Eiffel and three métro stops from Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries gardens.  In addition to these sights, take the 10-minute walk to Parc Monceau, a beautiful park a bit off the normal tour of Paris but a truly authentic and peaceful place to spend the afternoon.  Parc Monceau is just a bit past rue Poncelet; so you might want to plan a picnic with the some fromage, pain, and vin from the marché.
 
The Napoléon Paris is a centrally located hotel with unbeatable views and rooms that have been renovated for comfort but still offer a sense of Paris’ history and traditional French hospitality. 
 
Practical information:
Napoléon Paris
40, avenue de Friedland
75008 Paris
Phone : (33) 1 56 68 43 21
Fax : (33) 1 56 68 44 40
Website: www.hotelnapoleonparis.com
E-mail : [email protected]
 
Métro: Charles de Gaulle – Etoile
 
Prices range from 290 euros for a classic room to 500 euros for a deluxe room with a view to and 1260 euros for the Suite Errol Flynn.  Prices vary depending on the season, and packages are always available (see the website for current packages)
 
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Le Chiberta
3, rue Arsène Houssaye
75008 Paris
Phone : (33) 1 53 53 42 00
Website : www.lechiberta.com
Métro: Charles de Gaulle – Etoile
Days: Lunch Monday – Friday, dinner Monday – Saturday
Reservations required 
Menu du jour 60 euros and menu dégustation 100 euros
 
 
Comptoir de l’Arc
73, avenue Marceau
75016 Paris
Phone : (33) 1 47 20 72 04
Métro: Charles de Gaulle – Etoile or George V
Hours: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Days: Monday – Saturday
Reservations not required 
Salads 10 euros, main dishes 11 euros, and desserts 5.50 euros (I told you it was a great deal)
 
 
Café Lateral
4, avenue MacMahon
75017 Paris
Phone : (33) 1 43 80 20 96
Métro: Charles de Gaulle – Etoile
Café Hours: 7:00 AM – 2:00 AM
Restaurant Hours: 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Days: 7 days a week
Reservations not required 
Coffee at the bar 2.30 euros, lunch menu 14 euros
 
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Colette
213, rue St-Honoré
75001 Paris
Phone : (33) 1 55 35 33 99
Website : www.colette.fr
Métro: Tuileries
Hours: 11:00 AM – 19:00 PM
Days: Monday – Saturday
 
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Noix de Coco
5, rue Brey
75017 Paris
Phone : (33) 1 45 72 46 48
Website : www.noixdecoco.fr
Métro: Charles de Gaulle – Etoile
Hours: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Days: 7 days a week

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